Falcons select safety Southward in third round


The Falcons addressed another need in the NFL Draft with the selection of safety Dezmen Southward from Wisconsin.

Southward had a very good career for the Badgers. He played in 54 games, which is a school record. Of those 54 games Southward played in, he started in 30 of them including 28 consecutive games to end his career.

In 2013, Southward finished fifth on the team with 40 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. He also had one interception and six passes defended. Southward was consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2012 and 2013.

Despite having a lot of college experience, Southward did not start playing organized football until his senior year in high school, so he’s relatively new at the position. In fact, he was not invited to the combine and there were some media outlets that projected him to go in the seventh round. However, Southward was impressive in his pro day, recording a 4.38-second 40 time, a 42-inch vertical jump and a 6.5-second three-cone time.

Southward is a work in progress that will need some time to develop his game before he can jump in to the starting lineup. He will need to improve on man coverage, his awareness and continue to be a student of the game. But he’s does have a big upside because he’s a very big and very fast safety that made a lot of plays at Wisconsin. Expect Southward to be a key contributor on special teams during his rookie year and could see a lot of action at safety by 2015-2016.


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